The personal touch

45656455_ed1f145c5c.jpgSo there we are.  External exams are over for another year.  Next year will be the big one – GP1/Highers (I’m trembling and pale at the prospect) with GP2/Standard Grades (an entirely different proposition).  This year, though,  was a relative breeze. 

First up there was SVS.  Once I’d got my head round the fact that this wasn’t all about how to write an almost obsolete cheque, it seemed like quite a useful extra subject.  The only problem is that no one – not the students, not the teachers, most definitely not my son – seemed to take it seriously. And he ended up taking the General/Foundation papers in a subject where he should have been able to cruise to a 1.  Oh well.  It’s done.  I do still retain a suspicion that it’s the teacher who steps back slowest who gets to teach SVS, a little like French in Primary School. 

Then there was Int 2 maths, another matter altogether.   Maths has never come naturally to my eldest and from his early days he’s had to put up with his younger brother calculating sums in his head at twice the speed he could manage.  And so the progression of Intermediate 1 last year, Int 2 this year and Higher next has probably given him the best chance of getting good grades.  Anyhow, just after Easter there was a phone call from the maths teacher, Tchr X.  Why does my heart always sink when the school comes on the phone?  It never seems to be good news. 

It wasn’t all bad news, though, but a concern that GP1 and the class in general weren’t taking the imminent exam as seriously as they might.  There followed a succession of emails between the teacher and myself, oodles of advice as to how my eldest should be approaching his revision, a blazing row with said eldest and a new regime at home.  This hotline to Tchr X seemed to do the trick.  GP1, who was calmly drifting along in his comfort zone,  gave in to the inevitable, albeit with teenage bad grace, and got on with it.  He might not have done quite as much as either I or Sir would have liked but he seemed to have a much more mature understanding this year than last of what he needed to do in the run up to an exam.  And then a few days before the exam, another email.  They had done another prelim in class and his marks had moved up from the depths to a borderline A.  Just a few more days hard work and he might exceed his targetted B.

The exam has been and gone.  It was easy, apparently 🙄 .  We’ll see in August.  Whatever mark he gets, I know that this time he has put some effort in and tried his hardest – can’t ask for much more. 

I also know that without Tchr X’s personal intervention, that might not have happened.  I’m quite sure that we weren’t the only family he contacted and I for one have really appreciated the extra time he must have spent communicating with individual families.  It seemed to me a great example of parent-school partnership.   So thank you, Tchr X.  Perhaps you’d like to teach SVS as well?

Photo credit 3anz-chootros

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2 thoughts on “The personal touch

  1. As a teacher, I also do a lot of contacting parents. I am then, more often than not, on the receiving end of a lot of abuse – what a bad teacher I am, how I always pick on the ‘child’, how I only teach my favourites and, occasionally, worse. However, if just one parent or one child takes the advice to heart, that makes it worthwhile. One day I will publish the letters and emails I have been sent over the years. We do usually manage to get them all through, but often, with little thanks to the parental support.

  2. Goodness, I hope the maths teacher concerned didn’t get too much of that sort of response! Although I do often hear those comments from other parents about one teacher or another; I never know what to believe as you can be pretty sure their darling isn’t as angelic/clever/well behaved/motivated (delete as applicable) as they’d like to think! I do know it’s always much easier to criticise than praise, and of course complaints makes far more entertaining blog fodder. So I have to address the balance once in a while and give credit where it’s due.

    But SVS, on the other hand. I do wonder whether it’s worse having a 5/6 grade on an otherwise pretty good certificate than none at all. It may just say “couldn’t be bothered”. I wonder if we can ask for a separate certificate for it if the result’s a poor grade?!

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